The Maine Philanthropy Award debuted in 2008 when siblings Bryan and Stefanie Solar, both students at Colby College, sought a way to celebrate the philanthropy and community service happening in Maine. Working with the Goldfarb Center, Bryan and Stefanie created an award for philanthropy at the state level, Central Maine area, and by a student at Colby College. The first award ceremony was held in April 2008 and recognized three exceptional individuals who made extraordinary contributions in the service of others. In 2009, an award for a high school student was added to the program. Specifically, the Maine Philanthropy Award recognizes people who have demonstrated the following characteristics:
- have a proven record of outstanding, long-term community service and /or philanthropy benefiting the communities of central Maine.
- their actions reflect their personal commitment of time, talent or treasure on behalf of others.
- demonstrate leadership, either in coordinating volunteer efforts of individuals or groups for fundraising, planning special events, programs or services that benefit the communities of central Maine.
- inspire others to get involved, take responsibility, or assume leadership in order to make positive changes for the community.
- their actions have had a demonstrable, positive impact upon the lives of others.
The awards are presented annually at Colby College, in conjunction with the Nonprofit Leadership Institute. The Maine Association of Nonprofits and Colby collaborate to offer the Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Colby every spring. This year, The Maine Philanthropy Awards will be awarded at the closing dinner of the Institute. Nominations for the award are solicited from community members, nonprofits and foundations, and a committee comprised of representatives of the Maine Association of Nonprofits, Colby, the nonprofit community, and previous winners select the winners.